I arried at the Red Rock Canyon Campground at about 4PM and the temperature was about 70F. By the time that I had checked in and set up my tent, the sun had dropped behind the mountain and the temperature had dropped to about 50F. Stayed warm enough overnight though that I was able to sleep comfortably with just the insect mesh covering the doorway. This also alloed me to look outside and see the stars that were visible. This is definitely not a dark sky zone with the 24/7 glitter of Las Vegas not far away.
This campground is definitely a tent friendly location. Each of the sites has a raised bed of fine gravel which provides a flat, quick draining surface which is relatively peg friendly. Although rainy days don’t come often in this desert environment when the rain does come, it can be torrential in nature even if short lived. A more frequent occurrence is the high desert winds which can whip up the dust and dislodge tents that are not firmly held in place. At the Red Rock Canyon campsite the planners included eye bolts around the periphery of the tent pad so it is possible to lash one’s tent firmly in place if adverse weather threatens
THe Red Rock Canyon campground is close to the western outskirts of Las Vegas and can be reached by taking a left hand turn at the fire station road about one mile from the large rock sign that announces that you are entering the RR Canyon refuge. There is a campground sign for those heading east on Hwy 159 but not for those heading west on this same highway. THere might have been one but I didn’t see one.
The campground’s location is within cycling distance of Calico Basin as well as the easy to reach main loop. I had visited the main loop on previous visits to the area so decided today to visit Calico Basin before heading to the airport to greet the paddlers whose kayaks I had been transporting.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, Alamo, Nevada
This refuge consists of an upper Pahranagat Lake, a lower Pahranagat Lake and a stretch of marshland in between the two lakes as well as the surrounding lands. There are 14 rustic campsites along the east edge of the upper lake. I had read about this location before leaving home so was happy to eventually get there and set up my tent even though it was after dark when I arrived. The glow of the Las Vegas lights a hundred miles away silhouetted the intervening hills that surround the lake area.
There is not a lot to see in nearby Alamo, Nevada but there is a store and gas station which provide all of the necessities and then some. A surprising variety of grocery items is available from the store including many fresh baked items for the early morning riser. There is no potable water available at the Pahranagat campsite so a trip to the Alamo store for water is a good idea. Of course, those freshly baked cinnamon buns can also be very tempting.
At this time of the year, Pahranagat Lake is home to large flocks of ducks including Mallards, teal, red heads and a collection of American coots. Roadways and trails provide the birder or hiker with an easy way to walk around the whole circumference of the lake. It was a nice walk on a sunny day with temperatures a pleasant 55F. I was treated to a fly-over by a Red-Tailed Hawk and then a Bald Eagle perched for an extended photoshoot opportunity.
I only stayed at this location for one night and then enjoyed a half day of exploring before heading for the campground at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, Nevada
It was a bit late at night when I arrived at Selkirk Shores State Park so, when I awoke in the morning, I got up onto the picnic table to take a few shots of the area and of my camping spot in particular. Definitely not what I would call a remote site but adequate for the purpose! Despite the density, noise levels were quite reasonable and not a problem. No blaring radios! Continue reading →
The North Face Mountain 25 tent is a four-season tent that is well known for its dependability and durability and commonly used on expeditions where extreme weather is a normal occurrence. I needed to replace my current four-season tent, a North Face A-frame tent that I purchased a few years ago (actually purchased in the 1970’s but who’s counting :-)). Continue reading →
May 4, 2012 – After spending part of the morning walking the streets of Wellsboro PA with my camera, we headed out Route 660 to take a look at some of the areas along that route again and then headed back into town before heading south on Hwy 287. Our plan was to travel along stretches of the Pine Creek and camp overnight at Little Pine State Park. The weather was really cooperating and lush green leaves of the Mayflower plant dotted the margins of the forest and roadside openings.(Route) Continue reading →
Nirvana is a nice dark sky zone known to Members of RASC where one can go for astronomy. That weekend there were over 9 of us out there, from planetary observers to DSO (deep space objects). Even one expert who spent the entire astronomical night watching meteors plummet to the earth. Continue reading →
A bunch of us headed to Sandbanks Provincial Park for the August Long Weekend. This Park is made up of two sections, a large campground with sandy beaches and the ‘banks’ which is Sandy Dunes for which you can walk for hours on.
Located Near Kingston Ontario and along Lake Ontario you have to act fast to get spots when the Camping Season Starts (and the Ontario Parks Reservation System Goes Online) to reserve a spot; that said we were in the group campground which you have to call directly. I can’t remember who in our group was fast enough to score of the of the two group campgrounds, but I thank them. The Group Campground has enough room to hold numerous tents and has a large central firepit, we are also across a street and some forest from the main campsite so your very secluded. The seclusion is a plus/minus sort of deal, although your group won’t be having other campers walking through your patch of green, your also on the far side of the campground with your own ‘beach’ which pales in comparison to the main beach so to really get that “Sandbanks” feel you will need to walk across the main campground to the main beach.
The first day out for our Breeding Bird Survey is a long one. We begin the day at about 4 AM and drive about 1000 km. Factoring in a few stops along the way for meal, gas refills, a leg stretch or two and, of course a photographic moment or two, we aim to arrive at our destination, Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park at about 6 PM. Continue reading →
Today was basically a traveling day as we moved over onto 1A and traveled toward Cape Canaveral.
We stopped at the library in Ft. Pierce to get a bit of Internet time and when we came out and looked off to the south, there was a pretty good fire burning in the distance.
An individual whom I met by the water had mentioned that he had seen a Manatee a bit earlier but all that I saw in this location were a few pelicans and gulls.
We continued north to our campsite for the evening at the County of Brevard’s Long Point Recreation Center. The available camping site served the purpose but would not be a place that I would chose to go back to if there were better options. We had originally hoped to get a spot at Sebastian Inlet State Park but they were full by the time that we arrived there.
Once we had the tents set up, John took his bike and went off for a ride back along the highway and I took my camera and hiked around on an adjacent island which was connected to the camping area by a high arched wooden bridge used for access and for fishing.
Mangroves along the shoreline made it a bit difficult to follow the shoreline but a number of well-worn pathways traversed the inner areas of the island.
I enjoyed photographing a Tri-colored Heron that kept moving into and out of the shadows cast by the setting sun.
A number of Egrets and Brown Pelicans flew by and three Osprey circled overhead and occasionally dove into the water in pursuit of a meal.
Photographing the small warblers that flitted from branch to branch in the denser areas of vegetation were difficult to photograph but one warbler did land on a bare branch.
After I left the island, I found another trail to follow and came across a Kingfisher and another Osprey and then finished off the evening getting back to the campground as night fell around us.
Saturday will likely be the Merritt Island/Cape Canaveral area.